HOW Interactive Design Conference Rocks DC

Editor’s note: You may have missed this recap from the recent HOW Interactive Design Conference in Washington, DC. 


In late September, hundreds of designers from all over the country made the pilgrimage to our nation’s capital for the second annual HOW Interactive Design Conference (HIDC). Because the 2011 event was so popular, this year there is an east coast AND a west coast conference. The west coast event will take place October 29-31, and registration is still open for those who would like to attend.

Washington DC

Photo by conference attendee Christina Elizabeth from the plane on her way into DC.

Now, while this is an interactive conference focused on the latest trends, tools and technologies in web design, the majority of those who attend are still making the transition from print to web. In fact, HIDC was created expressly to meet the needs of this audience. As, more and more, we migrate to digital mediums to consume content, the expectation is that designers in general will have some base of knowledge in coding, responsive design and creating positive user experiences.

What makes HIDC so awesome is that, because so many designers are in that transitional phase, the enthusiasm and excitement around soaking up new information, networking, and generally getting as hands-on as possible, is the norm. The whole weekend is full of energy, and shared “ah-ha” moments.

One conference-goer said, “The diversity of speakers and attendees is inspiring—it’s for anyone looking for a dose of real advice. HIDC provides a window into where design is today, where it’s heading, and how we can stay ahead and leverage best industry practices.”

Someone else characterized it this way, “The varied experience and perspectives of the speakers provided a wealth of knowledge in multiple areas of interactive design. From overall philosophy to specific tools and tips, the conference inspired, informed, and at the same time made me realize how much I need to know … and how exciting that prospect is!”

The presentations by speakers were amazing—such a rich collection of individuals, all with different backgrounds and areas of expertise. For example, Chris Butler from Newfangled spoke about usability testing, while his business partner Mark O’Brien taught us how to create content-rich sites that can help build business. The “British guy” Paul Boag delighted everyone with his good humor, but gave everyone deep insights into designing e-commerce sites that look good, create a good experience for the user (even if they’re 80+ years old), and also make the sale.

David Sherwin enlightened everyone on tools that can help us gain a deeper understanding of audience needs in his presentation, “Know They User.” Others talked about information architecture, HTML and CSS, creating mobile experience—it truly ran the gamut. With many of the same topics and speakers, HIDC West is sure to be just as exciting. And with Jose Caballer, host of This Week in Web Design and Chief Education Officer of the Skool serving again as master of ceremonies, it’s also sure to be a great time. He provided a great recap with some conference attendees on a recent episode of his show.

In addition, HIDC West will include a Business Bootcamp around positioning and proposals for interactive projects. If you’re looking to attract more interactive clients, it will help you figure out where they are, how to price your work, and how to manage those projects.

It’s in just a few weeks, but it’s an exciting time to get into interactive design, and HIDC is a great place to start learning.

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